Fact Sheet
Manufacturing Industry

As part of the 2013 Aflac WorkForces Report, 263 respondents were manufacturing companies and 386 of respondents were manufacturing company employees; key findings are:

  • Offering robust benefits while staying within budget/cost constraints is a top benefits challenge for 45% of manufacturing businesses. Understanding the changing health care landscape is second-largest benefits challenge for 22% of manufacturing businesses.
  • 55% of manufacturing company employees at least somewhat agree that “I would prefer not to be more in control over my health care expenses and options because I will not have the time or knowledge to effectively manage it .“
  • Additionally, 55% agree “I believe I may not adequately manage my health insurance coverage, leaving my family less protected than we currently are.”
  • 65% of manufacturing businesses use a broker or benefits consultant to help determine benefits options, vs. 63% of IT companies and 62% of financial services companies.

Thinking of my company’s major medical/healthcare plans, we plan to implement the following in the coming year…

Manufacturing Company Benefits Offerings At-A-Glance

Which of the following benefits does your company offer?

The Role of Benefits in Key HR Outcomes

Talent Attraction

57% of manufacturing business employees say they are likely to accept a job offer with slightly lower compensation, but better benefits.

86% of workers say a benefits package is important to their willingness to refer a friend to their organization.


51% of workers at manufacturing companies say they are extremely/very satisfied with their overall benefits package.

When employees are offered voluntary insurance they are much more likely to say their current benefits package meets their needs extremely/very well (60%), compared to those not offered voluntary benefits options (45%).

Employee Well-being

38% of workers say their current benefits package only meets their family’s needs somewhat, and 7% say their benefits package does not meet their needs.

When asked if they feel fully protected by their current insurance coverage, 51% of employees at manufacturing businesses say they only somewhat agree, and 16% say they strongly/completely disagree.


46% of employees at manufacturing businesses are at least somewhat likely to look for a new job in the next 12 months.

More than half of employees (51%) say that improving their benefits package is one thing their employer could do to keep them in their job.

79% of employees agree that a well-communicated benefits program would make them less likely to leave their jobs.

Disconnects on Key Benefit Issues
Employers respond that: Employees say:
48% of employers strongly/somewhat agree that “Our workers are taking full advantage of the benefits we offer.” 46% of employees completely/strongly agree with the statement “I am taking full advantage of my employee benefits.”
Believes benefits are extremely or very influential on:
  • Job satisfaction – 53%
  • Loyalty to employer – 53%
  • Willingness to refer friends – 39%
  • Work productivity – 33%
  • Decision to leave company – 35%
Believes benefits extremely or very important to:
  • Job satisfaction – 79%
  • Loyalty to employer – 68%
  • Willingness to refer a friend – 57%
  • Work productivity – 65%
  • Decision to leave company – 58%
54% of companies strongly/somewhat agree with the statement “our workers are not adequately informed about their benefit choices” 74% of workers at least somewhat agree with the statement “I would be more informed about my benefit choices if I sat with an insurance consultant.”
64% of companies strongly/somewhat agree they “effectively communicate the value of their benefits to employees.” 47% of workers say their HR department communicates extremely/very effectively about benefits offered by their employer.
Only 5% of companies named “educating our employees about health care reform” is an important issue for their organization. 77% of workers agree “I believe my employer will educate me about changes to my health care coverage as a result of the health care reform.”
32% of companies named “having employees interested in purchasing voluntary benefits” as top challenge in offering voluntary benefits." 63% would be likely to purchase voluntary benefits if offered.

Many experts project the U.S. manufacturing sector will experience a significant rebound and likely surpass worldwide competition in the near future. Software that bridges the virtual environment and the real world promises to streamline and bring efficiencies to the manufacturing process, which will in turn boost productivity levels. As more U.S. companies bring back manufacturing jobs to the U.S., a greater demand will be placed on companies to recruit and retain skilled workers to meet the needs of a changing manufacturing sector.

Like many other industries, manufacturing is experiencing a “graying” of its workforce. A large portion of employees are working well past retirement age, and workers age 60 and over were among the highest unemployment rates during the recession. This means manufacturers are not only pressed to retain its older workforce, but may find they need to recruit from this age cohort as well.

Given the number of older workers at many manufacturing companies across the U.S., concern turns to higher health care expenses. With costs already rising, this can cause distress among business leaders and HR decision makers. It’s fair to say that manufacturing companies find themselves between a rock and hard place – needing to retain and even recruit its older workforce, yet feeling pressure to contain medical and health care costs to protect the bottom line.

Benefits will obviously play a significant role in the attraction of talent to the industry. Clearly, manufacturing workers place great importance on the quality of benefits, and it influences 86 percent of workers’ willingness to refer a friend to their employer. Voluntary insurance options are effective solutions that allow companies to tailor their benefits plan to fit the needs of a diverse workforce. Bolstering insurance options through voluntary benefits for a segment or all of its workers is simply good business.